18 year old grad makes Southern University history

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POSTED: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 7:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 7:34pm

Friday Polite Stewart made history at Southern University, by being the youngest grad the school has ever seen. For his graduation ceremony he was cool, calm and collected and he's already got his eyes on the next exciting step in his life.

Stewart, like most college grads, said his university experience has changed him for the better. But unlike most of his peers Stewart is graduating from Southern University this year at the ripe age of 18.

"I know I’ve matured. I know I’ve gotten more used to being around other people. I know I’ve become more well rounded. And instead of being just oriented toward science, I am now oriented toward everything," Stewart explained.

"He was given to sharing his knowledge with the group in terms of solving a particular problem or specific kinds of tasks. And for me that always showed a great degree of maturity on his part," Shared Physics professor Stephen McGuire.

Though he missed out on what some would think of as a normal high school experience, Stewart said he wouldn't change what he's had at Southern for anything.

"No I wouldn't because now I get to go out and go straight ahead to another college experience and be able to go out in to the workforce a lot earlier than I would have normally been able to."

And as he prepares to move on in the world of academia those who taught him and watched him grow at the university say he'll be missed.

"He also is respected by his peers on campus quite a bit too. They look up to him in many ways because I guess that same spirit I saw in the classroom he carries on outside the classroom as well," McGuire said.

And Stewart said that feeling of respect for everyone at Southern is mutual.

"I am going to miss southern. I am going to miss the connections that I’ve made. I am going to miss several professors and at the same time quite a few of the students," Stewart said.

Stewart said he intends to continue his education at a research institute and is weighing options at both Duke and the University of North Carolina.

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